Overtourism occurs when the negative aspects outweigh the benefits.
Large numbers of tourists can upset the local residents, especially if income created by a tourism boom doesn’t trickle down but instead leaks out of the country. As destination popularity rises so can the cost of accommodation. Furthermore, the noise disrupts normal life, and places of beauty are spoilt by high numbers of visitors.
So why has this all occurred in the summer of 2017? Well, the signs have been around for a while and in places as high as Everest and as far East as The Great Wall of China. But, this summer’s conditions created problems to hit a new high for Europe tourism.
Here are the ten conditions which have led to this epidemic.
1, Tourism numbers are growing. Tourist arriving from China and India are helping stoke this steady rise.
2, How the success of tourism is measured. A country’s tourism success rate has always been measured in the number of arrivals rather than local employment or the amount of money generated by tourism. The ease of data collection makes this the measurement of choice, but importantly it doesn’t tell you how the locals are benefiting from the steady influx of new arrivals.
3, National holidays. When a country like China has a national holiday, a mass exodus often follows. This puts a strain on host countries, especially if these dates coincide with an international holiday of a country with limited holiday allowances e.g America.
4, Limited popular destinations. Popular spots, views, historical sites, and beaches are where the majority of tourists want to visit causing a strain to the infrastructure
5, Marketing. When a tourist spot becomes fashionable companies jump on the bandwagon to heavily market this destination. Cuba saw a huge rise in tourism as visa restrictions were relaxed, causing many problems for locals. Although, this condition can be the result of a ‘destinations’ marketing strategy. Iceland is an interesting case study, if you are interested in investigating further.
6, Dangerous destinations and travel advice. When a popular country becomes a ‘no go zone’ e.g Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia, a funnelling effect is formed causing a steady stream of tourists to flow to limited and already oversubscribed destinations.
7, Accessibility. Holiday bookings, flights and connections have all become a lot easier and cheaper and so the destinations’ popularity increases. Furthermore, tourism has been called the biggest freeloader since many of the must-see destinations are free e.g Venice’s Piazza San Marco, Dubrovnik’s old quarters and the Amalfi Coast.
8, Tourism’s biggest and ugliest behemoth, the giant cruise ship. These ships land on beachside destinations and unload thousands of tourists all at once. Venice has been suffering for a long time and the Venetians unofficially voted to ban them this year.
9, Destination’s natural capacity. When there is no route for visitor overflow, numbers can boil over in historic sites like Venice and island destinations.
10, The summer holiday season. People travel to Europe during their summer months because it’s the best time to visit for warm weather. With visitors from around the world visiting popular ‘must see’ destinations in a short time frame, crowds will grow.
So how can it be fixed?
- Firstly, it’s time more responsible tourism practices were employed to ensure the local population reaps the benefits from tourism.
- A drastic change in how successful tourism is measured is essential.
- Restricted access for giant cruise ships and strong marketing for alternative destinations.
- Restrictions and charges to popular areas would stem the spread of overtourism.